Mindo: Where Nature and Adventure Meet
Located very close to Ecuador’s capital, Mindo is a haven for birdwatchers, adventure-seekers and nature-lovers. This beautiful town located at the bottom of the lush Mindo Valley is a favourite amongst locals and foreigners, who visit it for the many possibilities it offers. From both relaxing and cultural activities to more adventurous and challenging ones, visitors can get a little taste of everything. Ecuador, being such a small country, is home to innumerably diverse landscapes, and a flora and fauna that is so rich that it’s considered the fifth most bio-diverse country in the world (but the first one when ranked per square metre)!. Read on to learn more about this amazing place and make sure to include it in your schedule when you visit Ecuador!
Mindo, situated on the slopes of the Guagua Pichincha Volcano, is located inside the Mindo-Nambillo Reserve. The whole area is located inside a hotspot called the Andean-Choco, one of the most bio-diverse places on Earth. This transitional area, that connects both the highlands and the coast, has an altitude that ranges from 960–3,440 metres above sea level (3,150–11,290 ft). This dramatic change in altitude is what allows its cloud forest to be home to more tan 400 species of birds, hundreds of species of amphibians, reptiles and mammals, and some 200 species of orchids.
What to do?
In Mindo, everyone will find something to their liking! The rich, natural surroundings in which Mindo is immersed offers visitors the chance to choose from a myriad of activities such as trekking, birdwatching, canopying, swimming, rafting, and taking a plunge under some of the most amazing waterfalls. The cloud forest, home to amazing orchid and other plant species, is a refreshing scenery that will re-energize the body and refresh the senses. When in Mindo, visit its famous butterfly farm to learn about the different stages of a butterfly’s life and experience for yourself what it feels like to be surrounded by more than 1,200 butterflies fluttering about! If you are a bird watcher, don’t miss the opportunity to see the famous and rare Cock-of-the-rock in action. Head out early in the morning and watch as male Cock-of-the-rock birds gather to perform their animated dance while showing off their vivid colours and crest.
If you happen to stay in Quito before heading to your unbelievable Galapagos adventure, we suggest you make the best of your time in the capital and take some time to explore the nearby surroundings. You won’t believe all the things you can find just minutes away from Quito (call it the advantage of living in a small country). To make the best of your time in Quito, stay at the beautifully renewed family mansion, Casa Gangotena, and place yourself within walking distance of one of the most beautiful visitor sites in Quito’s colonial downtown. Make it your home base from which to start your exploration of the highlands and the northwest side of the Pichincha province. If you wish to be totally surrounded by pristine nature, stay at Mashpi Lodge, situated right in the heart of the Mashpi Reserve. From there, you are just minutes away from the picturesque town of Mindo, where you will find a combination of urban life and nature.
Nathalie Moeller is of Ecuadorian and German descent. As a child she spent her summers in the Galapagos Islands, where her mother grew up, and from a very young age learned to love the beauty and uniqueness of the archipelago. She studied Journalism and Humanities in Barcelona, after living in Madrid and Germany for a couple of years. This gave her a culturally broader view of the world, which is reflected in everything she does. Blogging gives her the opportunity to combine her passion for travelling and writing.